Breanna sat on the end of the exam table waiting for her second ultrasound. She was nervous and excited to see her baby on the screen. The nurse said, “I need to go over your STD results with you first before the ultrasound.” Breanna forgot she signed up for free STD testing last week at her first visit. She knew her boyfriend would never cheat on her, and she hadn’t been sexually active with anyone else since last year, so she didn’t think she had anything to worry about; but since the testing was free she had agreed to it. “The result is negative for Gonorrhea,” said the nurse, “however you did come back positive for Chlamydia.” Breanna was shocked. She never thought she would be one of “those people” who get an STD.
True Care Offers Free STD Testing for Our Pregnancy Patients
Each week we see women as they come into our clinic for pregnancy testing. These ladies come from many different walks of life but they all have one thing in common; they think they might be pregnant. Why are they concerned about pregnancy? They are concerned because they have all been sexually active. Some are married, some are in monogamous relationships, and some have multiple partners. Their risks for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) vary based on their lifestyles and birth control usage, but when it comes down to it, every person who has sex is at risk for both STDs and pregnancy. Another term for sexually transmitted diseases is sexually transmitted infections or STIs.
At True Care, we test for two types sexually transmitted infections: chlamydia and gonorrhea. Both are bacterial infections treatable with antibiotics. Already this year (through June) we have had 10 positive STI results. Each woman was shocked to get a positive result. Most had no symptoms and never thought they would get a positive STD result. Thankfully we are able to treat our patients with antibiotics here at True Care to get rid of their infections. We also provide education about STDs and sexual health.
STD rates are increasing. Are you at Risk?
The cycle doesn’t end with just one woman. Every day men and women are contracting STI’s through sexual intercourse. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)reported an all-time high of STDs in the United States. It only takes one infected person (who usually doesn’t know they have an infection) to spread it to another person. Infected people don’t look any different. They aren’t dirtier, creepier, or somehow more deserving of an STD then other people. They are just regular people who have had at least one sexual partner…the people you go to school or work with. So what can be done? Prevention begins with the individual choices each person makes regarding his/her sexual health.
Here are the choices you can make to protect yourself from a sexually transmitted infection or disease.
- First of all, some great news! If you are not sexually active you will not get an STI. How awesome is that? No risk, no worry. True Care recommends abstinence as the only 100% way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections.
- Another option is to make the choice to be in a monogamous relationship where you and your partner are both tested for infections and know you are free from disease. This works if you both get tested before having sex and then remain faithful to each other with no other partners.
- Finally, if after weighing your risks you still decide to be sexually active with more than one partner, you can reduce your risk by using barrier devices such as male or female condoms. These do not protect you….they only reduce your risk. You can still get STI’s when using condoms. Routine STD testing is recommended if you choose to be sexually active so that you can receive proper care and treatment should you contract an STD.
Learn more about the risks and prevalence of STDS in Wyoming at this website: www.knowyo.org. You can receive reduced rates for STD testing, including HIV, at county public health clinics, which are listed on the above website. Also, True Care has a fabulous Feminine Genius program for women who want to make healthy sexual choices. Women meet one on one with an advocate to learn about their fertility cycle, sexual health including STDs and birth control, and how to have a healthy relationship including tips on how to choose a lifelong partner. Contact Rebecca our program director at True Care at 307-472-2810 to get sign up.